Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) attacker Kylian Mbappe won the French league’s best player award for the third time in his career but deflected a question regarding his future tactfully.
Mbappe’s contract at PSG expires next month, and he is expected to join Karim Benzema at Real Madrid in a powerful assault.
Mbappe stated he didn’t want to reveal his decision during the ceremony, but when asked if he’d decided whether to stay or move, he replied, “Yes, pretty much.”
Mbappe leads the league in scoring with 25 goals for the French champion and 36 goals overall.
The National Union of Professional Football Players (UNFP) presents the honors to players in France’s top two divisions each year.
Mbappe, who is 23 years old, won the title both last year and this year after scoring a career-high 42 goals.
“It’s always an honor to be here. Winning for the third time in a row is incredible,” Mbappe said. “I’ve felt the recognition this season more than ever.”
After the coronavirus epidemic ended the season 10 games early in 2020, the trophy was not given.
Mbappe’s goals and assists hid major flaws that were ruthlessly revealed by Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 despite PSG winning the league title — which it inexplicably lost to Lille last season.
PSG led 2-0 on aggregate owing to Mbappe’s goals but then conceded three goals in under 20 minutes as Benzema ripped away from the defense with a superb hat trick.
Since Benzema’s comeback to the national team after a seven-year absence, Mbappe’s partnership with Benzema has developed, and they have both scored massively for Les Bleus in the previous year.
In the Nations League final versus Spain, Benzema produced a spectacular goal, and Mbappe scored the game-winning goal.
Mbappe has 168 goals for PSG since moving from Monaco in a 180 million euro ($187 million) move five years ago, second only to former teammate Edinson Cavani’s 200 goals.
“I want to keep improving,” Mbappe said, laughing when the on-stage interviewer asked if he thought he could overtake Cavani at PSG, which would obviously mean staying there.
“I’m already very happy to be in the top three,” said Mbappe, who overtook Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s PSG tally of 156 goals.
But Mbappe, the star of France’s World Cup triumph four years ago, has been frustrated by PSG’s failure to win the Champions League despite big expenditure on star players, including a world record 222 million euros ($231 million) on Brazil’s Neymar.
Bruno Genesio of Rennes was awarded best coach in various honors. Early in the season, the former Lyon coach was chastised, but he stuck to his ideals.
Fourth-place Rennes has produced some of France’s best attacking soccer, scoring 80 goals in 37 games, just five fewer than PSG.
PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma was named best goalkeeper, and Marseille defender William Saliba, who is on loan from Premier League club Arsenal, was named best young player.
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